A group of hearty souls braved single digit temperatures at Mission Ridge the first weekend of January 2009 to experience PSIA-NW’s inaugural event: Immersion: You Looking at You. What an event! The experience was fabulous and highly recommended to anyone who values good technique, slowing things down to understand fundamental movements, is interested in improving their skill development and willing to devote lots of practice time.
This event is not for those looking to bag multiple high-speed ripping runs. Save that for when you go to Symposium at Sun Valley’s Rip and Tip clinics. The design of this clinic is to slow down, and I mean slow down, the movement patterns into individual pieces for complete assessment of how the skills blend together turn by turn. A key component of the two days on the hill was how the coaches stationed themselves on the side of the run for them to watch, assess, and give feedback to the participants cycling by on green terrain (day 1) and blue terrain (day 2) with extreme focus on specific movement patterns. We began to understand how we each move and individually what we needed to do to change or adapt our ingrained movement patterns to show more accurate technique. Then we had to implement. The implementation of feedback is another unique part of this clinic; you work on your own. The group may begin the day cycling the same run together but you are given the choice of riding the chair alone, with a partner, talking about your feedback, not talking at all, stopping at a coach for feedback, or not stopping at a coach even when they flag you for feedback. This clinic is as much about you understanding how you process and implement feedback as it is working on the fundamentals.
The concept was simple but different than any clinic offering and the coaches made sure to bring us into the process
The concept was simple but different than any clinic offering and the coaches made sure to bring us into the process early to understand what to expect so we would be set-up for success. We met indoors the Friday night before the first day on snow with coaches Nick McDonald, Rick Lyons, Chris Thompson and guest coach Eric Ward. Eric brought with him his knowledge of having participated and coached this program before as well as his background as the Founder of The Foot Foundation™ and trainer for the Ski Schools of Aspen. We went through a presentation of the skills concept and how it is meaningful to us. This included lengthy technical discussions regarding center of mass (COM) and subsequent point of contact (POC). These key elements became the focus for the rest of the weekend. Saturday was spent on the hill with intensive movement pattern assessments and lots of practice exploring the potential range of these movements. Saturday night was another indoor session with a focus on your foot, how it functions and how it fits in your boot, however, not in the traditional boot fitting sense. As our awareness was expanded and was consistently coached it became very clear that the goal was “it’s all about you” meaning “me”. With consistent coaching and practice it became clear that is still up to me to make the changes and with the support of the coaches I had time to really explore and play with how to make integrated movement pattern changes.
In the end it’s still me working to maintain contact with the front of my boot, remaining aligned, etc. Throughout our discussions and the time on snow, the group had clearly learned by this point that Eric is a renaissance man and our conversations also covered among other things: fear issues, anatomy and physiology, pregnancy induced stance changes and an invigorating discussion about rebound.
Sunday was another full day on the hill with continued focus on skill development. We did get to switch runs and, if we were good, speed up a little. Some participants had adapted their boot fit by this point and experimentation with boots and implementation of feedback was in full motion.
Kirsten Huotte, despite the very cold conditions, video-taped both days on the hill so all participants had a good idea of what the coaches were seeing. The video was played for us to see and understand for ourselves. After both our evening presentations Friday and Saturday night the entire group dined out together to continue the conversations and enjoy each other’s company.
Highlights Discussed and Skied: Dynamic equilibrium of the center of mass, movements allow flow and change, and the point of contact, where the skis touch the snow. Goals: COM over POC. Consistency of platform is critical.
When do you know a turn is finished? Where is the neutral zone? How do you enter a turn? Goals: tripod for balancing over the whole foot. Lower leg cuff contact by tripod
De-inclination and Re-inclination. Goals: adjusting angulation while sustaining balance in movement.
Are you interested in what a tripod position is? Can you really manage the forces of a turn by the neutral zone? If your interest is piqued and you have the desire for great skiing then this is the event for you.[connections_list id=37 template_name=”div_staff_bio”]